High School Sports

February 14, 2012

New Richland 2 program begins to take shape

With change afoot in Richland School District 2, the shape of Midlands athletics is about to shift.

With change afoot in Richland School District 2, the shape of Midlands athletics is about to shift.

The new Westwood High, set to open in August, will have a full slate of teams that need leaders. Some of the pieces begin falling into place this week.

“Everything is still out to bid and up in the air. We’re going to have to scramble here soon for some things,” said athletics director Burns Harris, who is leaving his post at Richland Northeast to guide Westwood’s Red Hawk athletics program.

Burns said the Red Hawks are planning to have spring football practice and volleyball practice and conditioning over the summer, but most of the coaching staff has yet to be hired.

The district was conducting final interviews last week for candidates to be the head football coach. The board will be presented with a candidate for approval at its meeting today, Harris said.

Longtime Richland Northeast football coach Jay Frye has been mentioned as a candidate for the Red Hawks’ job. Harris would not name any of the candidates, but he said the Red Hawks new coach would immediately begin working to have a full football staff in place by April or May.

Harris is eager to get to work on the challenge and opportunity of building a new program from scratch.

“This is my first time doing something like this, and I’m getting a lot of advice and help,” Harris said. Vince Lowry, who has led Blythewood since it opened in 2005, has helped in this process, Harris said.

The Red Hawks will begin as a Class 3A program, as did Blythewood when it opened in 2005.

“We have no clue as to who our students are going to be, but I know we will hire some very competent coaches and I think we’ll be very competitive — if not right off the bat, very soon,” Harris said.

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